When I was ten years old, I could only think of a few things I wanted to do when I grew up. Right at the top of the list was professional baseball player. However, those dreams did not become a reality. The reason I never became a baseball player was surely due to a combination of factors, not the least of which is a lack of proficiency at hitting, catching, and throwing a baseball. But a prominent factor was inactivity and a lack of time spent doing the things that would help me be successful at the upper levels of baseball. I would go to practice and play in games, but outside of that, there was not much baseball activity in my life. I wasn’t spending time growing the skills I needed to achieve my dream.
Over the last few years, conversations with firms around the country have been more positive, with people experiencing growth in parts of, or all across, their firms. The mindset in general has changed from what life was like during the lean years of recession. Still, going from the thought of, ”I want to grow the firm by 10% or more,” to the reality of actually making this happen will take more than excitement, desire or want – just like my desire to be a professional baseball player didn’t actually get me there.
Thinking of success as a verb places an emphasis on action and follow through. Whenever I ask about the initiatives that a firm has in place to achieve 10% growth, there are a range of answers. However, the typical response lists two–three initiatives that the firm is planning for the year. When questioned further as to who the champion of each initiative is, the conversation slows up, as often there is no one in place to drive the activity being planned. Because of this, the results will likely be minimal to sporadic, if it gets done at all. The conversation stalls further when I ask how much new business, specifically, will come from each of the initiatives, and who is following up on the clients and prospects that attended the firm seminar if that is something in the works.
A good question to ask yourself about any marketing or business development activity is simply what will success look like if you achieve all you want to with this activity? Will it be one new client, three new prospects, or one additional project with an existing client?
As a follow up to this line of thinking, you should decide what has to be done, physically, to make success happen and who is in the best position from a skillset standpoint to own the project and drive others to help. Then, give that person everything they need to make it happen, including the time, resources, and personal support and encouragement. Using this process puts success in its proper context as something that is active and tangible instead of a nice thought or feeling. In other words, it makes success the verb that it truly is.
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